Some Assembly Required
Each year, smarter, more efficient robots join assembly lines and put skilled mechanics out of a job. But BMW is helping its workers fight back, and has started 3D printing physical enhancements for its factory workers so they can break the rising tide of the machine takeover.
BMW has started custom-designing and 3D printing thumb carapaces to protect workers from the strain of their labor. To develop the super-thumbs, the team at the BMW manufacturing plant in Munich teamed up with the Technical University of Munich’s Ergonomics Department to use 3D printing — which BMW calls the “talk of the town” — to solve the problem of thumb strain.
Meet Your Maker
Hey America, don’t say Google never did anything for you: Looks like Google Glass will be made right here in the good old U. S. of A. That’s according to the Financial Times says, citing sources “familiar with the company’s plans.”
The president’s speechwriters have likely already popped this news into the Google Doc where they spitball ideas for the next State of the Union.
Life in 3D
This morning, Betabeat ventured forth to the industrial environs of Long Island City for a ribbon-cutting at what’s being billed as the “factory of the future.”
Naturally, quite a few tech scene regulars were in attendance, like New York City Economic Development Corporation president Seth Pinsky. But, by and large, it was mayor Michael Bloomberg’s show–that, and of course Shapeways, the company that’ll soon be 3D printing user-generated designs right were we were standing.
“There are plenty of good reasons we want New York City to be the epicenter of the industry, something, folks, that the factory and the research lab here at Shapeways will help make possible,” he told us, before adding, for anyone missing the point: “This is the future of our city.”
Funtimes at Foxconn
Is there anything 3D printers won’t wholly revolutionize? There’s the gun trade and illicit narcotics market, there’s the fine art of burrito making, and now, Atlantic Cities reports, a USC professor is working on a means of using them to wholly disrupt the construction business. That’s right–he proposes that we jettison prefab Read More
On the front page of today’s New York Times is a massive umbrella piece about China’s Foxconn—who manufactures, among other things, Apple iPhones—and the sub-humane, dangerous conditions their workers assemble these products under. It is, in many ways, as astonishing as it is unsurprising, and it’s as depressing a systemic problem as they come.
So what does the Apple fan’s Apple fan—the New York Times‘s own David Pogue, the (somewhat controversial) most widely-read technology columnist in the country—have to say about Apple’s relationship to Foxconn? Especially given the front page of today’s Times, do these sorts of revelations about their manufacturing processes change the way he feels and/or writes about Apple?